Why foreign tourists hesitate to spend big in Vietnam?
The revenue generated from inbound tourism has not been commensurate to the tourism potential.
At a symposium of the second Vietnam Travel and Tourism Summit 2019 held in Hanoi on Monday, many experts and business executives in the field listed some reasons why foreign tourists are not opening their wallets in Vietnam.
According to Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ngo Hoai Chung, the sector has witnessed a rapid growth in the number of international holidaymakers, however, they spend less in Vietnam compared to other Southeast Asian countries due to the shortage of tourism products and services.
Tourism services are not diversified and attractive enough to meet the demand for entertainment, shopping and experience of international visitors. Other issues relating to the environment, human resources, application of information technology and infrastructure at tourist sites were also mentioned as the reasons preventing the tourism industry from generating bigger revenue.
Chung cited a report showing that between 2016 and 2018, the average growth pace of the number of foreign visitors to Vietnam was 12.8%. In 2018, Vietnam received 15.5 million foreign arrivals, up 19.9% against 2017, contributing 8.5% to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The figure for the first 11 months of 2019 was 16.3 million, up 15.5% year-on-year.
Another representative from the Vietnam Tourism Association said that Vietnam must find solutions to keep the foreign tourists staying longer and spending more, citing an example that the average spending of a foreign tourist in Quang Ninh province is only VND2.4 million (US$104) and the average stay-over is 2.7 days.
Most of the attendants agreed that the revenue generated from inbound tourism has not been commensurate to the tourism potential.
Chairman of the Danang Tourism Association Cao Tri Dung acknowledged that the tourism products in Vietnam are still framed and inflexible as communal level authorities have little say on tourism product development. He, therefore, proposed that local authorities at a communal level should have the right to allow travel businesses explore the attractions as long as they can generate revenue for localities.
Basing on the feedback of tourists, a representative from Saigontourist said that the reason why foreign tourists spend less in Vietnam is the shortage of shopping and entertainment centers. Other reasons lie in the capabilities of solving problems halfway during the tours, language proficiency, visa, and high travel costs due to the lack of direct flights to the destinations.
At the seminar, Vietravel pointed out that Vietnam is home to over 2,000 rivers that have not been fully explored for tourism development.
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